Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ): a study of school children in Ribeirão Preto

Braz J Psychiatry. 2003 Sep;25(3):139-45. doi: 10.1590/s1516-44462003000300005.


Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate possible child psychiatric disorders using the strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ).

Method: SDQ is a questionnaire that screens child mental health problems, comprising a total of 25 items divided in five subscales: emotional problems, hyperactivity, relationship, conduct and pro-social behavior, with five items in each subscale. We also used the impact supplement that evaluates the impairment caused by symptoms. Out of 143 children randomly chosen from a public school of Ribeirão Preto, 107 questionnaires were correctly filled in by parents. Teachers received 114 questionnaires (regarding children with parents' consent), and 108 questionnaires were correctly filled in. As a final sample, we obtained 112 questionnaires answered by parents or teachers.

Results: In the questionnaires answered by the parents, we obtained high scorings such as 30.8% for emotional symptoms, 17,7% for conduct disorders, 16.8% for hyperactivity, 14% for interpersonal relationships, 18,7% for the total scores and 10.2% for the impact supplement. Questionnaires answered by the teachers had 1.83% for emotional symptoms, 8.25% for conduct disorders, 8.25% for hyperactivity, 2.75% for interpersonal relationships, 8.25% for the total scoring and 4.58% for the impact supplement. Combining the results obtained from parents and teachers we have diagnostic hypotheses in the frequencies of 7.14% for emotional disorders, 9.82% for conduct disorders, and 12.5% for psychiatric disorder not otherwise specified and no combination was noted between parents and teachers for hyperactivity. Mean age was 8.18 years, with 63% of the children being male and 37% female.

Conclusion: SDQ can be useful for a preliminary screening in the investigation of possible psychiatric disorders in childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Parents
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*